A construction worker who turned himself into an Instagram influencer to ‘prove a point to his daughter’ was actually part of a clever marketing stunt.
‘Omar’ the average construction worker gained an impressive 366,000 followers in just one month of being on the social media site, but despite taking centre stage on the account, he isn’t actually running the profile.
Instead, the account is run by Mike McKim, the owner of Cuvée Coffee in Austin, Texas, who came up with the idea in a ‘creative brainstorming session’ about a month ago.
He told Buzzfeed News:
The whole idea was what we always thought as an influencer, and what we used as an influencer in the past, they don’t always fit our brand.
We need a different type of influencer: a hard-worker, blue-collar guy.
So, McKim teamed up with an advertising agency called Bandolier Media to create Omar’s persona. While they wouldn’t reveal his last name, he is an actual construction worker in the area, so at least it’s not a total lie.
The Instagram account went viral after a tweet from @barbzlovescarbs, feeding us a completely false, yet heartwarming narrative claiming Omar was her dad, who created the account to prove he could become an influencer.
The tweet, which has since been hidden or deleted, said the user’s dad ‘asked me what an influencer was.’
It continued ‘and after I explained, he said ‘Pshh, I could do that’. Well… he did. The best part is he works in construction.’
McKim says he has no idea who tweeted the fake story and Buzzfeed said Bandolier Media didn’t immediately return a request for comment, so it’s unknown if they played a hand in the viral tweet.
Regardless of who was behind the tweet, the false narrative prompted the account to blow up in such a short period of time, thanks to shares from huge meme accounts.
While thousands of followers were convinced the account was just a silly pet project, if you look closely you’ll see the entire account is actually an advertorial for Cuvée Coffee. Bravo, guys.
To start with, he lists being ‘coffee lover’ among being a ‘husband and father’ and working ‘in construction’, as if it’s an important personality trait.
On top of that, Omar uses #sponcon in many posts, mocking influencers, meanwhile tagging @cuveecoffee in many of his posts.
When we go into the coffee bar in the morning, there’s a line of guys in hard hats and vests.
What’s cool about it is we are a premium coffee shop, and they are very comfortable coming in and ordering coffees and ordering lattes.
But are they posting about it on Instagram?
McKim adds that Omar, who is of course the real star of the show, was compensated for the professional photoshoots and the rest of the work was covered by Bandolier.
Despite the goal having been to reach 1,000 followers, Omar has been a huge hit with fans, proving people love a ‘genuine’ down to earth fella.
The whole genesis started with the construction around us, which led to construction workers being in our coffee shop.
Let’s create the influencers — I shouldn’t say create…let’s find the influencer — that we couldn’t find. We pay them to make posts for us. That was the goal.
Well the stunt worked, you had us fooled too.
Here’s a lesson in not believing everything you see on the internet…
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.